House approves bill rescinding driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, 42-28

By Rob Nikolewski on March 4, 2011
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The blast worked.

A bill carried by Rep. (I-Hatch) that would rescind the state’s policy allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses successfully bypassed the committee process — a rarely used parliamentary procedure called “blasting a bill” — Friday (March 4) when the House floor voted 42-28 to move the measure onto the Senate.

Eight Democrats defected to the side of the Republicans and Nuñez, completing two arduous days of deliberation that saw the 75-year-old Nuñez stay on his feet, verbally punching and counterpunching opponents, some of whom bitterly complained about the bill skipping committees and the passage of a measure they say singles out Mexican-Americans.

“Shame, shame on New Mexico,” Rep. (D-Albuquerque) said after the vote.

But Nuñez says the measure is necessary for public safety reasons and had the full support of Gov. , who insists the bill — House Bill 78 — deserved an “up or down” vote. 

I caught up with Nuñez about a half hour after the vote:

The bill survived a number of close calls on its way through the House and one of its most steadfast supporters came from a surprising source: Democrat of Crownpoint, whose vote was crucial, especially when the bill escaped tabling measures by 36-34 margins.

She explained her vote to me right moments after the bill passed:

Rep. (D-Albuquerque) gave an impassioned speech against the bill immediately before the final vote, arguing that the current policy keeps undocumented workers from hiding from public safety officials and going underground. Garcia began and ended his plea by quoting an e-mail he received in which Garcia said the writer expressed hope that “God strikes you dead.”

A few minutes later, Jeff told the floor she had received similar messages from the other side.

The eight Democrats who defected were:

Ray Begaye

Joe Cervantes

Dona Irwin

Sandra Jeff

Rhonda King

Patricia Lundstrom

Al Park

Debbie Rodella

Gov. Martinez’ office released this statement after the vote:

 “Today, the will of the people of New Mexico was heard in the House of Representatives,” said Governor Martinez. “Despite numerous procedural schemes to defend the status quo, a broad coalition of Republicans, Democrats, and the House’s lone Independent came together to stand with an overwhelming majority of New Mexicans who want to see the dangerous practice of issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants overturned. I hope the Senate will also listen to the people of New Mexico and give this bill an up-or-down vote.”


And an immigrants’ rights group, Somos Un Pueblo Unido, released a statement that said in part:

“It’s a dangerous precedent and inexcusable that House members would shut New Mexicans out from the legislative process by blasting Rep. Nuñez’ bill to the floor, and passing a substitute bill without any hearings or public input. Legislators’ refusal to even consider a ‘compromise’ bill that attempted to address specific concerns about fraud, shows that this debate isn’t about sound public policy, it’s about politics and re-election campaigns. We are hopeful that in the remaining weeks our elected officials will do their jobs, legislate responsibly based on facts and not hateful political rhetoric about hardworking immigrants in our state.”

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31 Comments For This Post So Far

  1. 1:39 am on March 5th, 2011

    It’s a start…Little by little we can and will get our nation back…You’re welcome to become an American any time you do the simple things that millions before you have done…OBEY THE RULES! We are a nation of immigrants….Welcome…If you got here legally. Go Home if you didn’t!

  2. James G. Borden
    2:04 am on March 5th, 2011

    Illegal aliens should not have driver’s licenses, should not have the right to vote and they have no U.S. Constitutional rights because they are not American citizens; furthermore they should not even be in America.
    James G. Borden
    Newsletter Editor
    National Headquarters
    Hilo, Hawaii 96720

  3. Leslie
    2:13 am on March 5th, 2011

    Thomas Jefferson was a great man to this country…
    Here is one of his quotes… makes you really think…

    “The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”
    (How true does this quote feel)

    THANK YOU legislators in the house who had the good common sense to do the will of the people as well as realizing that giving driver licenses to ILLEGALS is criminal, it is aiding and abetting unlawful criminal activity.

    As to Kiki Saavedra’s comment, I am appalled and ashamed that someone that I thought was a straight shooter – good guy, who is supposed to be representing me and all the other LEGAL citizens in his district, would be in support for ILLEGAL activity. You get a definite NO CONFIDENCE VOTE FROM ME. Perhaps we should be bird dogging you and your actions as our legislator. Shame Shame Shame!

  4. 3:12 am on March 5th, 2011

    What is the point of having laws that are not enforced!! It seems that if you are a criminal or illegal person in this country any thing goes and the law doesn’t apply…but if you are an American Citizen who obeys the laws…our rights are being taken away and we will continue to fight back in the elections…any way we can because our voices are not being herd!

  5. Dawn Adams
    6:07 am on March 5th, 2011

    Thank you most honorable Gov. Martinez!!!! You, and your supporters are doing the State of New Mexico a good deed!!!! Keep up the great work!! Now if together we could only remove the illegal immigrant population.. but this is a start!!! Want to come to this country… come LEGALLY!!

    Ooh-Rah!!! Semper Fi!!

  6. melanie lyon
    7:22 am on March 5th, 2011

    Do you think Mexico would give us a D.L.?? We have to have a Passport to go to Mexico and Canada.!!! Every country has it’s own laws and if you break them you go to THEIR jails…….which is like hell (most of them). Or you are killed. Homeland Security put the military on the border with guns and bullets, and give them permission to shoot to kill.

  7. Harry
    8:28 am on March 5th, 2011

    Drive in any state is a privilege not a right. Being in this country illegally suggests no privileges should be extended to the individual.

    Its not about their feelings, reasons or how bad things are in Mexico or that US jobs pay more or there is work that US citizens do not want. Its about the rule of law.

    Simple, follow the chronology and the geographic boundaries and the answer is no one that is here illegally should receive any rights or privileges.

    Its about time US citizens become concern with what are the laws of the land and not citizens should shut up and pay for a non citizen. We do that through NATO, UN, and our NGOs.

  8. Michael
    9:01 am on March 5th, 2011

    I am from Tennessee and we had the same issue, we took care of it. Kudos to New Mexico you are doing the right thing.

  9. vikki324
    9:09 am on March 5th, 2011

    When an undocumented resident comes to apply for a driver’s license, they can fill out a 1099 as well to pay taxes to the Federal and State Governments. If they have money for a license, a vehicle, and insurance on the vehicle, they must certainly have an income to report.

  10. jaime guttierez
    9:33 am on March 5th, 2011

    Wow, as a Conservative Arizonan, I had written off New Mexico. Seems the people are getting sick of the hard leftists and birkenstock crowd I thought ran your state. Good for you! Congrats.

  11. blizzard
    9:49 am on March 5th, 2011

    Issuing U.S. drivers licenses to illegals is a slap in the face of those who made the effort to follow the rule of law. You can change the terminology all you want – undocumented worker, undocumented immigrant, etc., etc. but it all means the same – ILLEGAL – no matter what country they come from!

    You also claim illegals have rights because they pay taxes – when I travel outside the U.S., I also pay taxes (VAT, PST, etc.) – that doesn’t mean I am a citizen of that country. My U.S. driver’s license is also valid in many foreign countries in conjunction with my legally issued passport.

    New Mexico should be commended. Now the police have every reason to put someone in jail if they drive a car in this country without a proper license.

  12. Mom
    10:12 am on March 5th, 2011

    I think all states should ban licenses for illegals. We should also take away any benefits that they get as those belong to people who are citizens. No more welfare, food stamps, medicad or any benefits to illegals. If they want to follow due process and come here legally that is a totally different story.
    And the immigrants rights group saying things about “our elected officials” that only applies to those that are here legally!!

  13. 10:13 am on March 5th, 2011

    I am Hispanic and have personally seen people use one home address in ABQ for their fake address. Once they get their license they leave the state to another state. NM is a jumping off point for illegals for illegals to get jobs throughout the USA.

  14. caligirl
    10:45 am on March 5th, 2011

    Finally, they are listening to “WE” the people. There goal (the lib’s) is to keep this activity long enough, to have votes for ever. They got caught! America woke up last year and we are done with the lefty loony feel good country.

    Keep pressure on all of you’re Rep’s. As a CA resident, I write all the time. Sadly in my State this doesn’t do any good, because of the liberal loon rep’s I have. Never the less, we keep the heat on….hoping for that spark!

    I am moving to Texas, because CA is a lost cause and the damages will take 20-30 yrs to rebuild, after Gov. Brown and the DEM’s deal the final blow the next few years. I don’t want to go through this STATES complete demize.

    At least you’re State is dealing with immagration issues, and others are too. Or other States are dealing with the crushing Union’s, but CA is doing nothing for either group. Gov. Brown, announced slashing billion’s, to the elderly, the children and disabled. Union’s willing to compramise (Hahahahah) BUT NOT A WORD ABOUT ILLEGAL’S! So he will take away from our elderly and our citizen’s, but continue to FUND the ILLEGAL”S…this makes NO sense. Thus why we are leaving!!! Taking our business and tax dollar’s with us!

  15. Ralph
    12:08 pm on March 5th, 2011

    “And an immigrants’ rights group, Somos Un Pueblo Unido”

    Wait! I got confused in this, “An Immigrant Rights” group is complaining about this law?

    I didn’t read where this bill affected any legal immigrant’s rights, and speaking as one who has been intimately involved with legal immigration, I wholly appreciate anyone creating roadblocks to prevent these “people” from taking advantage of our system. I had to spend a lot of time and money the legal way, these people need to go through the same process.

    Way to go NM!

  16. Tina Carson
    1:09 pm on March 5th, 2011

    To all the State Representatives who passed HB 78 …Thank You! The safety of New Mexicans – and other American citizens – was in your hands and you didn’t drop the ball. A special thanks to Andy Nunuz for sticking with it and to Sandra Jeff for standing her ground. I hope our Senators show the same Chutzpa!

    All I can say to “Kiki” is shame on you for showing a complete lack of regard for the safety of New Mexican Citizens.

    Tina Carson

  17. Angie
    1:21 pm on March 5th, 2011

    Ilegal immigrants do NOT deserve driver licenses, our social security, our welfare and our government. I am tired (as a taxpayer) of supporting them! I am tired of them not speaking our language! I DO NOT PRESS ONE FOR ENGLISH! We need to take of our people, our legal people.

  18. Dennis
    2:31 pm on March 5th, 2011

    BRAVO NM!!! You are finally taking your balls back from the Left. Take it a step further and do like Dallas already does… If you get stopped they check your drivers license, registration and Insurancxe. If you don’t have any of the above, your vehicle is immediately impounded: You pay a fine, have to show proff of all above, and pay the towing/impound fees. Most illegals cannot/will not do that. No racial overtones there, it applies to everyone.

  19. Joe
    2:55 pm on March 5th, 2011

    If someone broke into your house and then claimed you now must support them and treat them as a member of your family, you would probably insist that they get out. They are there ILLEGALLY!! They have no rights in your house except to leave and knock on your door to ask permission to enter. What difference is this from the illegal immigrants sneaking into the U.S.? States should not need to pass a bill such as this of course. However when we have a federal administration that will not “protect and defend the constitution” as they swore to do, states MUST take action.

  20. Pete
    3:44 pm on March 5th, 2011

    This actions opens the door to more problems, now that illegal immigrants, not legal immigrants, but the illegal ones can go where they want and still pay no taxes, but will try to apply for other assistance that others really need, they will have a license and feel that this will be their ticket to other Gov. assistance, so if you are going to give them a license, then when they apply, make them start the paperwork to become legal, but if they have a criminal background, then out they go, I still think it is wrong, I served my country faithfully not for illegals to come in and do what they want and when, but for those who want to become legal, and want to help this country too.

  21. Mo
    3:48 pm on March 5th, 2011

    I don’t think it it’s far that the illegals mexicans are allowed to stay and others have to follow the laws. I know many people from other countries that would like to also stay in the U.S. but can’t. The rule should be the same for all illegals no matter where they are from. Like the lottery…some countries are band from entering…but illegal mexicans are allowed to enter when so many are here already. It’s the ordinary people that don’t come over on jobs from other country that get the crappy deal.

  22. Neil Tarasoff
    4:06 pm on March 5th, 2011

    Congratulations New Mexico! Lets keep the ball rolling to the rest of the states!

  23. bartlebee
    6:30 pm on March 5th, 2011

    From the article:
    ““Shame, shame on New Mexico,” Rep. Henry “Kiki” Saavedra (D-Albuquerque) said after the vote.”

    Shame, shame on Henry Saavedra for opposing this bill.

  24. ms yankee2u
    10:15 pm on March 5th, 2011

    Americans have been screaming their heads off while most of their elected gov. officials sit with their middle finger in their faces. Don’t wait for the next election–start initiating RECALLS on these pieces of trash who think ILLEGALS deserve more rights than YOU. They are not undocumented workers-most sit on welfare-and thousands IN MEXICO are allowed to collect social security despite NEVER working here-legally NOR illegally, never been here, never lived here-just provide a U.S. mailing address (P.O.BOXES allll along border towns) and every month–watch on check day–yet i was told if i do not ”put in”, i can not collect. ILLEGAL MEANS ILLEGAL and should be immediately deported, including their paid-for-by-us anchor babies-whom, according to our Constitution (and every other country!!) are NOT U.S. citizens cuz mama squatted here. Get the hell out.

  25. jeff
    10:35 pm on March 5th, 2011

    Bout time something is being done to stem the tide of illegals coming here for a free ride

  26. Nathan Johnson
    12:19 am on March 6th, 2011

    Hey folks!!!! The key word here is “illegal” Helloooo…

  27. Diana Wilson
    10:43 am on March 6th, 2011

    I overheard some doh-doh head the other day say we are imposing, hardshipping and punishing minorities and illegals to make them have drivers licenses, vehicle insurance, etc. to live in this country. EXCUSE ME? Since when do certain classes of people get a pass on obeying the law made for all???? I wish I knew who said it because I’d like to ring his scawny little neck. We’re not going to have different laws for underprivledged people!!! I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK!! I want my taxes paid for US Citizens progress. Not some lazy fatso or illegal that refuse to pay taxes or contribute to society. I’m sick of supporting other countries and not helping our own. This is just one measure that needs to be passed across the US. It’s not just mexicans getting away with this crap.

  28. 11:38 am on March 6th, 2011

    Amazing that this small step in curbing illegal immigration made it past the watchful eyes of the socialist corrupticrats in Washington. They must have their hands full with the union problems.
    I’ll bet the Governor and the state legislators got called all kinds of names by illegal mexican and democrat sympathizers of mexican descent, not unlike how black socialist demcrats ostracize Herman Cain, Thomas Sowell and Walter E Williams calling them house negroes.

  29. Simon
    12:16 pm on March 7th, 2011


  30. 8:22 pm on March 7th, 2011

    bravo………denied drivers”MEXICANS” but still giving student visa to terrorist.let then have PILOT LICENCE.and the ones who really hurt the nation are legally here or are not forget that you came from europe to kill native indians.ouch…you are inmigrant too. if they are here ,they have a job,no one lives for free,if they have a job,they pay taxes,cotributing to the state……..if they are still here thats your fault,,,STOP HIRING ILLEGALS,i dont think you can affort that,u need them.

  31. Tracy
    9:31 am on March 8th, 2011

    Where’s the Like button? Thank you NM House for voting this way. Thanks to the Dems who had the cojones to do the same.

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